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Charlie 2Kudos to Jahabar Sadiq, editor of Malaysian Insider, for his clear and unequivocal position against the terrorists who attacked the French weekly Charlie Hebdo earlier this week. I fully support his position that it was “an assault on journalism and freedom of expression. No one has the right to curtail or censor expression – be it with a government gazette or a g gun.”

In Europe, governments and churches are going out of their way to reach out to Muslim communities to protect them from any backlash, drawing a clear distinction between the few who act violently in the name of religion and the overwhelming majority of Europe’s Muslims who are valued members of society just like any other community.

When nations and people react with dignity, respect and tolerance in the face of extremism and hate, good wins and evil fails.

Dennis Ignatius, Berlin, Germany, 10th January 2015 

People take part in a vigil to pay tribute to the victims of a shooting, by gunmen at the offices of weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in the Manhattan borough of New YorkAmandine Marbach from Strasbourg, France, takes part in a vigil in Manhattan, New York, to pay tribute to the victims of a shooting at the offices of weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Hooded gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the weekly satirical magazine known for lampooning Islam and other religions, shooting dead at least 12 people, including two police officers, in the worst militant attack on French soil in decades. Sign reads ‘I am Charlie’. – Reuters pic, January 8, 2015.

COMMENTARY BY JAHABAR SADIQ, EDITOR, MALAYSIA INSIDER

Published: 8 January 2015

The Charlie Hebdo massacre yesterday is an assault on journalism and freedom of expression. No one has a right to curtail or censor expression – be it with a government gazette or a gun.

The 12 who were killed yesterday, including four cartoonists and their colleagues from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, were journalists penning their thoughts.

Any reply to such thoughts should not be from the business end of a gun.

And if anyone thinks they are avenging or defending their faith or god or prophet by shooting and killing people, they are wrong.

Life does not work that way, no matter what religious scholars say.

Haven’t they heard that the pen is mightier than the sword, that no army can stop an idea whose time has come? That an idea is like a virus, resilient and highly contagious?

If the three gunmen thought it would terrorise and end their satire – they got it wrong.

The world now knows more about Charlie Hebdo. The world now knows more that these people who profess to defend their religion cannot argue except by killing their opponents.

Their actions are pure terrorism and murder. If they are confirmed to be Muslims and say it is done in the name of Islam, they are the worst kind of Muslims – the ones who use religion to justify their bloodlust, their hate and their ignorance.

For too long around the world, Muslims have lived with their co-religionists using bullets and bombs to speak for their community and faith. No more.

We can no longer call Islam a religion of peace as long as there are these so-called Muslims who murder and maim, terrorise and tyrannise others for their perverted sense of religiosity.

Not unless we condemn them for their actions. Not unless we say unequivocally that Islam does not condone these acts of terror and murder. That Islam speaks about reason, love, charity and that all life is sacred.

The time has come for us to stand up against these fringe groups who only think that death to their enemies is the only answer to keep Islam or any other religion pure and perfect.

Because they only smear it with their ideas and actions. God needs no defenders, neither does any prophet. Our actions represent our faith, our religion – and not if we kill one another.

My faith is reflected in my journalism, to inform people so that they make informed decisions. Je suis Charlie. – January 8, 2015.

* Jahabar Sadiq runs The Malaysian Insider.

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/je-suis-charlie#sthash.d8U5DkiG.dpuf

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